Bruce Kalman - Founder + Smoker
New Jersey native and SoulBelly Founder Chef Bruce Kalman launched his culinary career in his hometown of Paramus. “I started cooking at 13 in a local family-owned pizzeria, and I never looked back,” he says. “I really enjoy it—beyond the food, it’s about the energy of the kitchen, the camaraderie, the teamwork, it’s awesome. Every day is a challenge.” He solidified his skills through a hands-on culinary program at Jersey City’s Hudson Community College, and after rising through the ranks of local kitchens, moved to Chicago to serve as executive chef for restaurants including Okno, Green Dolphin, and Coco Pazzo. Kalman landed in Los Angeles in 2011 to help launch Santa Monica’s Misfit, and later joined West Hollywood’s The Churchill, at which he excelled in creating house-made charcuteries, pastas, and desserts. In addition to running Knead & Co., Kalman has become a chef-partner for California’s Sunkist Growers, helping spotlight the brand’s local and family-owned citrus growers.